The County Assessor’s Notice of Value – Property Assessments will be mailed out the first week of March. April 29, 2022 is the deadline to appeal your property assessment. Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the most recent limited assessed value of your property by the tax rate determined by taxing districts, like the County, school, fire, flood control and/or other special taxing districts. Higher property assessment values mean a higher tax bill, so it is important to review the Notice of Value and correct any errors or over-assessments.
Taxpayers have the right to petition for a review of the Assessor’s valuation. A review by the County may be time well spent if the assessed property value is higher than what the property would likely sell for, when there is a significant increase that seems out of line with overall appreciation, and/or similar properties in the market area are valued lower than yours. Assessments should be based on the market value of your home, so if your home has issues that would turn off buyers, now is the time to own up to them.
A good first step is to review your parcel record for any potential errors by visiting https://parcelsearch.santacruzcountyaz.gov/santacruzwebpay/propertyinformation. Enter your parcel ID number (without any dashes) in the top block and click on “find account” which provides an overview of the land and improvements. For specific details on the property, select the “other” button and then select “Generate detailed report on selected parcels.” Carefully review your record. For example, if you had a built-in pool and you filled it in, be sure this is correctly reflected on your parcel information. Check all the data to include number of bedrooms, square footage, etc. If you find discrepancies, contact the Assessor’s office to correct the information.
The next step is looking at comparable homes in your market area that are similar in size, age and condition and compare them to your home, which will take some time and effort. The County’s GIS Parcel Search map can be found at https://sccaz-gis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=6747735f7c9d46d0abfedaf8f0e79e35.
Locate the addresses of homes in your market area that you believe are similar and input the address into the GIS Parcel Search map. This will take you to a map which identifies the specific parcel number(s). Copy the parcel number (omit the dashes) and enter it into the parcel search website to obtain the detailed information for comparison to your property. If you have the site address, you can also go to the parcel search link, click on additional search fields and enter the address at the “Site Address” which takes you directly to the parcel information. Again, focus on similar size, age, and condition although most likely you will never find an exact match. At this point, calculate the cost per square foot on your home and those you choose to compare to yours. You will want to provide several comps to support your argument. On appeal, the county may also pull data on similar homes in the market area.
Recent sales information is also valuable research. The PRT has requested a detailed spreadsheet from the County on recent sales in the general areas of Elgin, Sonoita, and Patagonia which will be posted on the PRT website.
You can hire a professional appraiser to provide the strongest evidence of your property’s worth; however, you need to determine if this expense is worth it. Lastly, you could check with a realtor in your market area and see if they are willing to help you pull five or more comparable and recent sales to help evaluate what your property is worth. Some agents may charge for this service and some not, but a realtor can provide helpful insight into deciding if an appeal is worth the effort.
If you decide to move ahead, you will need to file a Petition for Review of Valuation, DOR Form 82130 with the Assessor’s office no later than April 29, 2022. The form can be found on the County’s website at: https://www.santacruzcountyaz.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3112/Form-82130—Petition-for-Review-of-Valuation?bidId=
You will need select the method(s) of valuation your appeal is based on, (1) Market Sales Approach –full cash value of comparable properties in the same area; (2) The Cost Approach – all costs (materials, labor, architectural fees, construction finance costs builder profit) to build or rebuild the home plus land value; (3) The Income Approach – (for income producing property) which estimates the value based on income capitalization; or Other. You will also need to check the box if you would like to meet with the assessor (recommended).
The Assessor must rule on all appeals no later than August 15. If a request has been denied, you may file an appeal with the County Board of Equalization. Last year, the county received 86 appeals – 15 residential and 71 commercial properties. A total of 76 appeals were approved and 10 denied.
A successful appeal does not mean the County cannot increase the assessed value of your home the following year. While it often pays to file for a review, be aware that it is a process you may need to deal with more than once.